(Part 5 of the series, Following Apostle Paul's Missionary steps, a journey taken by Shirley Jones with a group from Christ Community Church)
GREECE — Visiting Corinth where Paul went after leaving Athens and walking Paul's path through the Corinthian ruins helped us appreciate what he had to deal with in this corrupt city.
We were able to see the Judgment Seat (Bema Seat). Paul stood there before Gallio, the governor of Achaia, when he was accused of persuading men to worship God contrary to law. (Acts 18: 12-16) Reading these scriptures, one realizes how God‘s hand had once again saved Paul from harm or execution.
We saw an archaeological find that validated the Bible’s accuracy. It was part of an ancient stone pavement similar to the sidewalks of today, paid and laid for the public by Erastus, the city treasurer of Corinth, and his name was etched on its surface.
The inscription read: “Erastus pro aedilitate sua pecunia stravit” or “Erastus in return for his Aedileship laid (i.e., the pavement) at his own expense.”
In the Bible from Acts 19:22, Romans 16:23, and II Timothy 24:20, we read where Erastus was indeed the treasurer of Corinth and a companion of Paul’s. Archaeological finds consistently validate the truths of the Bible.
Besides viewing the entire landscape of Corinth’s ruins, other points of interest were the Peireni Fountain where the public baths were located, the remains of the Temple of Apollo, the Temple of Octavia, the entrance arch and many other buildings.
Once we left the ruins of the ancient city of Corinth, we had an opportunity to drive to see the Corinth Canal. This magnificent man-made canal was originally a vision of Periander (625-585 B.C.), a tyrant of Corinth. However, his idea was not attempted until 67 A.D. when Emperor Nero began the project of digging a canal. In four months, a one-mile long moat with 12 wells had been dug. This became the path that the canal was to follow.
The project was in progress when Nero was called to Rome to deal with a revolt and it wasn’t until the 19th century, following the idea of Ferdinand De Lesseps who had built the Suez Canal, that the Greek government signed a contract with the French for building a canal, Corinth’s Isthmus; however, this idea remained only on paper. Then in 1881, the work was given to Hungarian General Tur; while his company was working on the project, it went bankrupt. The canal was finally finished by the “Greek Company of Corinth” in 1893.
The length of the canal is approximately four miles starting at the highest point of 276 feet to the bottom of the sea. The width is around 80 feet at the top, narrowing at the bottom to 56 feet with a depth of 25 feet. We had the privilege of watching several ships go down the canal and it was amazing to watch the workings of a bridge that allowed the ships to pass through the canal.
Exhausted yet energized after a full day of activities, our group returned to Athens, had dinner together and retired to our hotel.